The Jags are a team in transition, but maybe not really. They've been super successful in their 15 years, never making the Super Bowl, but staying in the conversation every year despite constantly jockeying with Peyton Manning and the Colts for position.
The David Garrard era started with some hesitation because to the naked eye Bryon Leftwich was the physically superior talent. However the results said differently and Leftwich was officially out and Garrard moved in, but as soon as it felt like it really got started, it's over. Despite what some would call a career year for Garrard, the 8-8 Jags made a big move to pick a QB that some called the best in the draft with the 10th pick.
Rather than try to build a team around Garrard, they will build one without him... eventually. He's still in Jacksonville, but with the obvious talent to start on a number of teams, this should be his last season with the Jags unless they do something remarkable. They gave up 47 points to the Patriots in a pre-season game last night... that's pretty remarkable.
All the info on the offense after the jump...
Last season Garrard had career highs in TDs, completion percentage, rushing TD's and went 8-6 as a starter, 8-5 in games that he started and finished. What that earned him was basically a pink slip. Garrard is still the Jags starting QB, but his days are numbered after the team traded up to acquire Blaine Gabbertin the draft. The main issue is that Garrard also threw a career high 15 interceptions and had inconsistency week-to-week, that saw the Jaguarsget blown out 3 times early in the year. He's a good QB, but in this situation he's a risk to get pulled at a moments notice. He should be drafted only if he's your backup and he's in the bottom half of all backups.
Despite a short training camp, starting his first game against the Patriots, crappy wide receivers, and national attention, Gabbert had a good showing in the first preseason game, completing 9 of 16 passes for 85 yards and no picks. Rivals had him as a 5 star recruit coming out of high school and described as the top "pro style quarterback" in college. The Jags moved up 6 picks to get Gabbert and he'll be starting no later than 2012 barring a real surprise. He'll probably get an opportunity this season, but he's undraftable in anything but keeper leagues.
In his 2nd year as the featured back in Jacksonville, MJD turned some fantasy owners sour because he was drafted as a top 5 back and "only" turned in a top 15 RB season. In reality, he had a career high 95 yards per game rushing, caught 34 balls for 317 yards, and scored 7 times. It's tough to follow up a 16 TD season with another 16 TD season or better. He's still just as talented as he ever was and I fully expect him to fall safely into the range of 1,400 yards rushing, 40 catches for 400 yards, and 10-15 touchdowns. I'd feel comfortable drafting him in the top 8. If he slips to back 1st or into the 2nd round, he's a steal.
If anything happens to MJD this year, like when he missed the final 2 games of 2010, Jennings is a viable play and a must-handcuff option to Jones. He rushed 22 times for 108 yards and a score in the final game last year and dropped a 74 yard TD run against Oakland in week 14. Jennings was a steal in the 7th round of the 2009 draft, and if he gets starts this year, he'll be a steal in your league.
If anything happens to the first two guys, Karim is the next guy in line. He had 15 rushes for 70 yards in week 5 against Buffalo and 7 rushes for 52 yards against Houston. There's talent there, just not opportunity right now.
As you can tell, the Jags have done very well finding skill position talent past the first round. Thomas had a breakout year with 66 catches for 820 yards after being a 4th round pick in 2009 out of Arizona. With Mike Sims-Walkergone his responsibilities to be a #1 WR in Jacksonville goes up and he will look to avoid the common slump that affects out-of-nowhere WR breakouts in their follow-up season. One thing to be wary about with Thomas is that he topped 80 yards 4 times last year (100 yards 1 time) and fell below 50 yards 9 times, 4 games with 12 yards or less. He also caught just 4 TD passes. I'd feel very comfortable with Thomas as my WR3, a little worried with him as my WR2, and definitely wouldnt have him as a WR1. He could still follow-up with a breakout, but the QB situation in Jacksonville and not having a viable opposite end wideout is a concern as well.
As a former Coug myself, I am incredibly biased towards Hill and all other former Washington State players. Hill is getting his first opportunity to be a starting wide receiver in the NFL after being selected in the third round of the 2007 draft by the Niners. They let him go last season and he was picked up to play the final 5 games of the year with Jacksonville. He caught 11 balls for 248 yards and a score, with 195 of those yards coming in the final 3 games. He could breakout for something like 500-700 yards this year, but the situation is murky. He's nothing more than a very deep sleeper.
Jarrett Dillard, Cecil Shorts, and Kassim Osgood fight for the other WR positions. None is worth considering until they do something in the regular season.
Lewis was a 1st round pick in the 2006 draft that failed to ever produce much in his first 4 NFL seasons, scoring a total of 7 TDs in 4 years and averaging about 30 yards per game. He topped that with 10 TD catches in 2010, and 58 catches for 700 yards. Lewis had a season high 70 yards in week 2, so he never broke out with giant games, but he was very consistent and a solid bet for 40-60 yards, 3-5 catches, and he had 3 games with 2 scores. Expect more of the same this year, as he leads the 2nd tier of tight end options.
The non-Pro Bowl Zach Miller is his backup.
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